My most memorable Valentine’s Day was definitely when I was in 6th grade in elementary school. Like most kids 50-ish years ago, we had the requisite class party. We all made some “mailbox” out of a shoe box and construction paper so our classmates could put that little card into it. By this time in our lives, some kids really didn’t like other kids, so it wasn’t surprising to not receive one of those corny little cards from them.
ANYWAY, part of the Valentine’s festivities was receiving a special Valentine from someone who drew your name—finding that special Valentine in your mailbox was all up to fate and the luck of the draw. My special Valentine came from a boy I’d known since first grade, who rode my bus and shared family history with mine. My mom and his dad grew up together and went to the same school. His grandfather and my grandfather were friends who, after WWI, left the little Wisconsin village they lived in and came to Michigan to work in the auto industry. It was a beautiful Valentine. His mother definitely would have picked it out.
I had far more Valentine’s cards in my mailbox that year than kids in my class. One boy in my class gave me 24 little Valentines. He liked me a lot and did so through high school, which I found out some years after we graduated. I didn’t know how to react to that declaration when we were together on the kickball diamond at recess, so I relied on avoidance. It carried me through to the end of the school year.
So here we are, about 50 years later, and I still remember the day that boy gave me 24 Valentines. I hope he remembers doing it because he was the first person – other than my family – to make me feel different about myself – pretty special.
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